The Necro Files (1997) Review by RevTerry

I love a good burial ground. I don't really know if I feel like taking up space after death myself, but I'm glad others did in the past, and that the concept exists--if that makes sense. From my experience, the feeling isn't universal, as some would-be visitors are crippled by a distrust of subterranean corpses (or something along those lines) and find unease in their company. For me, the plots are calming, peaceful places, which almost seem to exist in their own quiet reality. The age-old institutions have a unique balance between spooky and chill as fuck. I have had great times among the headstones, and there is really no other way to get the same vibe. There was a time when I would walk almost a mile out of my way to take my stroll through St Stanislaus Catholic Cemetery before waiting for the city bus. It was the best stop in town, sitting on the corner of mortality, right in the middle of a memorial masonry shop, two medical buildings, and a rest home. Cemeteries are also romantic as fuck. Where I lived as a teenager, the parks were filled with impromptu parties and shady dealings you wouldn't want to walk in on. If you required a quiet, grassy scene to do some teenage dating, the graveyard had your back at any hour. I don't think I remember a scene of drama or fist fight taking place in a cemetery at all, and I even once witnessed a knife fight in a bounce house. The dead make good company. They keep quietly to themselves exceptionally well. Graveyards and the like are, in my experience, safe places with bonus history trivia. In movieland, that's not really the case, as burial grounds are much more active environments. In a horror flick, you would probably want to avoid the cadaver zone. There is a good chance something bad is happening there, and you wouldn't want to be a part of it.  For instance, you probably wouldn't want to share space with a half-witted satanic cult, resurrecting a cannibalistic deviant through human sacrifice like in The Necro Files (1997)
Leaving the police baffled and citizens in fear, a psychotic cannibal/rapists/serial killer by the name of Logan (who is also probably a Nazi, so just the fucking worst) has claimed over two hundred lives without apprehension, leaving only a single victim alive (and pregnant with his child). Having lost his sister to the madman, Detective Sloane (Gary Browning) is especially disturbed by the continuing spree, which he investigates with the help of his partner Detective Manners (Steve Sheppard). Together they pursue any lead that might turn up the dangerous sicko with passionate resolve and spend their free time in intense car rides where they spout out context about the case. The duo seems to be running low on hope until one fateful night when they manage to catch the sadistic bastard (Isaac Cooper) in the act of regurgitating a nipple. While making their emotional arrest, Manners ends up bumping his head, losing his shit and eventually killing Logan. Sloane tries to stop him, but at the end of the day, you can't argue with results, so they head home for paperwork and to start the healing process. Sometime later, a local sect of young “Satanists” meets up at Logan’s grave having kidnapped his surviving child. To appease their demonic deity, the head of the clan (Todd Tjersland) stabs the child to death and pisses on the grave (don't ask why they thought Satan wanted this). Somehow this morbid ritual awakens the rotting, evil pervert who now has a torn suit and less hair. With some grunting, he quickly rips off the head cultist’s dick, inserts it into someone's eye socket, and chows down on most of the other acolytes. Free from the police and the confines of mortality, moldy Logan goes back to his terrible routine only now with the help of undead steroids and reanimated Viagra. The bodies start piling up, and poor detective Sloane rightfully begins to worry when some of Logan’s calling cards resurface as well. As if that wasn't enough, he is also forced to play babysitter for his brain-damaged partner who has started using drugs and kicking people to death. Also, the dead baby returns from the grave with demonic flying powers, a full vocabulary, and a hatred for sex dolls.
Gleefully offensive and cornball as all shit, the film lays out a hand-drawn comic book tale of sleazy macrame come to life. The name seems to be an X-Files reference, tenuously tacked onto the story by the Bad Lieutenant knock off, his downtrodden partner and a closing epilogue bumper. Coming off as a mixture of every trope that could fit and fiery overacting, the cop shtick is a little grinding before becoming the essential piece of ham that holds the fucked up cheese sandwich together. The fact that the plot involves a flesh-eating rape-zombie should tell many people all they need to know about the film, but of course, that's part of the point. It sets out to be fucked up, gives its all and probably has too much fun doing it. Limited by resources, and mostly played comedically, the gruesome boundary pushing is more absurd than shocking, especially after the first few doses it offers up very early on. It's hard to know what to take seriously and probably best just to avoid thinking altogether. Whatever the intentions, it's not likely to unnerve any seasoned genre fans, and at best will get some healthy chuckles out of those with a sick sense of humor (half raises hand, then looks around). Barring some bizarre atmosphere footage, it's one ridiculous thing after another, and it keeps an energetic pace. On top of the inept satanic cults, unbalanced cops, and the undead, deviant father/floating, stabbed up infant son reunion there is a range of side characters (victims)-- all with their own storyline. A lot is packed in there, but as far as these things go, it's more coherent than it really needs to be.  Everything is sexually charged in very unsexy ways--closer to a severed phallus sketch on a bathroom stall than a porno. People are always coincidentally in the middle of a scandalous act when the reanimated psycho, whose unit grew into a weapon post mortem, shows up. Somewhere under camcorder grain, it shares a bloodline with some of Japan's over-gore from the 2000s (The Lust of the Dead films, The Big Tits Dragon), but it holds none of the bright colors, gloss or mutant school girls. Think instead, mean spirited grimy Troma with a tenth of the effects budget and half the slime. Altogether, it's perfectly bottom level entertainment with a twisted spirit for nonsense. I probably shouldn't even admit to how much I laughed at the flying, dead super-baby.
On the technical side, the movie is shot on tape backyard production with an extra dose of manic ambition. It looks like it was made with the contents of a suburban garage in the 90s and filmed around the neighborhood. There are just a few locations including public parks, street corners, and a storage unit. It's definitely not the worst camcorder work I have seen and even includes some formative shots. Always front and center, the makeshift action on-screen is displayed outright, flaws and all. Ranging from boldly bad to resourceful and crafty, the film's effects go for broke with differing techniques. The whole “stabbing a baby to death in the churchyard” bit would be pretty fucking gruesome if it weren't instantly evident that it was a regular old toy. The fact that afterward, the baby doll flies around noisily on a string was a nice touch, but the further exposure didn't make it any grimmer. Offscreen action is always preceded by splatter on a wall and some impressive after the fact, DIY gore that sticks around too long. Most on-screen impacts go over relatively well. Among a few others, there is an inconsistently realistic hand chopping scene that got a little surprised wince out of me the first time around (nothing spectacular it just triggered my fear of paper cuts). I really like the zombie make up, despite the floppy rubber monster gloves that accompany it, and honestly, they do a lot worse on TV. Each fucked up attack is an overlong sequence involving many uncomfortable close-ups laced with grunting and what I think is chocolate syrup. The dubbing includes plenty of squishing sounds which seems essential, and it has its own original score of bare-bones synth. There is plenty to poke fun at, however, that is baked into the trashy viewing experience and is better done in the moment with friends (if you have some and can get any to watch it). It's inventive homemade 90s splatter, and you will probably know if you're willing to watch a film of this quality shortly into the runtime. Actually, that probably goes for every aspect of the feature.
The Necro Files was the third film by Washington director Matt Jaissle, following Back from Hell in 1993 and Legion of the Night in 1995 (which featured cameos by Ron Asheton and S. William Hinzman).  Among some later low budget projects, Jaissle helmed two sequels Necro Files 2: Lust Never Dies and Necro Files 3000 (2017, with puppets!). The script writing was handled by Todd Tjersland and Sammy Shapiro. Tjersland has mostly stuck to “Real Gore” mondo tapes since, pumping out Faces of Gore 1-5 into the early 2000s. He also helped pen the ‘03 sequel and put together something called Midnight Movie Madness in 2009. A majority of the cast and crew lists other Jaissle projects, if any, as the only other credits in their filmography. The exception and the most recognizable name is Dru Berrymore (not to be confused with Drew Barrymore), who along with being known for adult films has appeared in a few genre-flicks including Strange Days (1995) and had an uncredited part in David Lynch's Lost Highway (1997). I have not extensively researched her work, but I'm going to bet her part here is the least erotic scene of her career. The two hammy detectives played by Steve Sheppard and Gary Browning deserve recognition if only for yelling seventy-five percent of their lines. Everyone seems to be having a blast, sometimes even when trying to sell something horrible. 
The Necro Files is a no-budget splatter classic that giggles childishly in the face of production values and taste. It's too goofy and makeshift to strike much fear, but for the right crowd, it's a scoop of sloppy entertainment with some pretty weird and fucked up ideas to keep your attention. No matter how silly, the kids should probably go to bed first, although they have definitely seen worse online and could possibly make more sense of it than any reasonable adult. I won't lie to you, it's terrible in more ways than one, but sometimes, beyond reason, I want to watch some grainy unsavory shit go down in a graveyard. I'm fine with a lot of things-- as long as they stay in movieland and out of the real world. Cemeteries are a great place to find some peace on this side of the screen, and I can't think of a scenario where human sacrifice doesn't fuck that up.
1h 12min | 1997
 Director: Matt Jaissle
Writers: Todd Tjersland, Sammy Shapiro

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Review by:
RevTerry

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